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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Guinness Pot Pies


Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!! Instead of indulging in green beer with all the amateurs in the bars of Baltimore today, I was hard at work making a wholesome meal for my neighbors who are both laid up with a case of the flu. They went to Japan for two weeks, had a marvelous time, and succumbed to airline flu on the way home. They sound and feel awful.

So.....to help them out, and to make something traditional for St. Paddy's Day given the snow and ice, I started looking around for a good recipe for authentic Irish Guinness Stew. Well, as you might imagine, there are about as many versions out there as there are for good chili recipes, but I found about four of them that appealed to me, and stole bits and pieces of all of them to come up with:

Broadsheet's Guinness Pot Pies

Beef:
2+ lbs of good stewing beef
3 TB Vegetable Oil (I use canola - olive oil has too low a smoking point, and too strong a flavor for this)
1/2 c. flour
1.5 tsp sea / Kosher salt
1.5 tsp. cracked pepper
Vegetables:
2 large sweet yellow onions chopped coarsely
4 big carrots, peeled and sliced into thick coins
3 lbs baby red or white fingerling potatoes cut into chunks - I like the skin on
Box of frozen peas (add at the VERY end)
1/2 c. finely chopped prunes (adds sweetness - trust me on this)
Spices:
1 package of fresh Poultry Herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary)
5 large cloves of garlic
2 large bay leaves
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 T. Tomato Paste
2 tsp. brined green peppercorns - drained, rinsed and chopped
Liquid:
1 c. good red wine
1 lg. can of Guinness Draught (NOT Stout!)
4 c. good beef broth

Heat the veg. oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot on med/high heat
Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in a large bowl
Toss the beef cubes in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly
Put the beef in the pot and sear the pieces, turning them on all sides until they have a nice crust, but are still quite pink. About 5 minutes. Remove from pot.

Add more veg. oil if necessary and toss in the chopped onions. Be sure to scrape up all the good browned bits on the bottom. Deglaze the pan with the wine to help. Cook for 5-6 minutes.
Add chopped garlic and about 4 glugs of the beer (that's an exact measurement folks). Cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Toss in the carrots, potatoes, prunes, the beef, the rest of the beer, and the beef stock. The prunes will dissolve completely and provide a nice sweetness to the stew with the carrots, and help thicken it.

Tie the poultry herbs into a bouquet garni with some string and shove them into the mixture.
Add bay leaves, peppercorns, Worcestershire and Tomato paste and stir well.

Get a nice simmer going, leave the pot uncovered, so the sauce thickens, and go work on your taxes for about an hour and 45 minutes - returning to stir occasionally. Your house will smell amazing!

Remove from heat. Stir in the box of peas. Put a lid on the pot, and set it out on the back porch to cool off for 30 minutes.

Get a couple of nice ramekins or other oven proof dishes, and set your oven temp to 425'.

Once the stew has cooled a bit, fill the ramekins and sprinkle some parsely over them.

Roll out squares of purchased puff pastry dough 1/4" thick, cut it in a large sqaure and drape it over the filled ramekins. Don't be fussy about this - just lay it over the top.

Cut out a shamrock from the left over pastry dough and place it on the top. Wash the top of each dish with an eggwash to make it shiny (one egg + 2 TB water whisked together).

Set them in the fridge to chill the pastry for about 15 minutes.

Bake on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffy and golden.

Serve with plenty of cold Guinness.

Obviously, this stew is just fine on its own without the pastry crust. Just make some champ to go with it, and a nice piece of crusty bread.

Slainte'!!
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:54 PM  
9 Editorial Opinions:
  • At March 17, 2007, Blogger jwer said…

    Guinness Draught is stout, it's just not Extra Stout...

     
  • At March 17, 2007, Blogger Broadsheet said…

    jwer: Reason #1 why you didn't receive St. Paddy's Day food. That distinction was implied, or understood.

     
  • At March 18, 2007, Anonymous BB in BJ said…

    When is a Guinness Stew not a Guinness stew...when the recipe refers to "beer", and there are prunes added. Nonetheless, I still relish the taste of it. St Paddy's Day was a real non-event here in BJ...no sea of green; no Oirishness apparent about the place. They just don't know what they're missing...

     
  • At March 18, 2007, Blogger tfg said…

    You should sell that picture to the marketing department at Guinness.

     
  • At March 18, 2007, Anonymous anger hangover said…

    OMG. That pot pie is a thing of beauty! Gorgeous! So much more appealing than green Miller Lite.

     
  • At March 18, 2007, Blogger Broadsheet said…

    BB: I forgot to call you and wish my one true, blue blooded Dubliner friend Happy St. Pat's! Sorry the Chinese refuse to be less Chinese one day a year.

    I was skeptical about the prunes - but I must say this was a damn fine stew. I'm sure today's and tomorrow's leftovers will be even better. I apologize for calling a noble foodstuff such as Guinness, a mere "beer".

    tfg: I don't think Guinness needs any help from me!

    AH: Thanks - honestly, it's pretty hard to screw up puff pastry when you work so hard to buy it like that.

     
  • At March 18, 2007, Blogger jwer said…

    I didn't get St. Patrick's Day food because you're too lazy to type "extra"? That doesn't seem fair...

     
  • At March 19, 2007, Blogger Broadsheet said…

    jwer: quit whining

     
  • At March 20, 2007, Blogger jwer said…

    If I "whined" every time you made food and didn't invite me over, I wouldn't have time for much else. That said, pot pie (even with magic ingredient) doesn't much stir me. Not much for comfort food, I guess.

     
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